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  • Candace Lewis

Making Sense of Muscle Cramps

What is a muscle cramp? A cramp is simply when the muscle contracts involuntarily and doesn’t relax. Cramps usually come on suddenly and create very local intense pain. They can last anywhere from seconds to minutes, and can leave the muscle feeling tight and uncomfortable for a long time. Regular muscle contraction comes from motor neurons, but sometimes the nerve pathways malfunction and can cause involuntary contractions or spasms. No matter the severity or duration, cramps absolutely suck!



Have you ever woken up in the morning and moved and something cramps? Or are woken from your sleep to an intense pain in the muscle? While we sleep our bodies become stiff and body functions are focused more on healing and digestion. The body isn’t focused on movement and so the muscles aren’t ready for quick movements or jumping out of bed. Have you ever stretched while still laying in bed and everything feels stiff and tight? Sometimes you’ll get away with nothing happening, but sometimes you’ll get smacked by a cramp or the sensation like somethings going to snap! It’s actually a much better idea to get up and move around before you do any morning stretches. No one wants to start their day with a cramp, or pull a muscle and not have a cooler story of how it happened!


Why do muscles cramp? Muscles cramp when they're not able to relax properly, but the answer isn’t really that simple though. There are many reasons muscles aren’t able to relax. Reasons range from diet (poor hydration, certain health conditions, etc..) to neurological conditions and other biomechanical reasons. One of the main causes of muscle cramping is weakness. A lot of people experience cramping while doing workouts, and one cause can be overloading a muscle that isn’t capable of handling it. Unfortunately sometimes we just don’t know exactly why we have muscle cramping and it takes a bit of effort and guidance to figure it out!


What to do about them? The good news is that a lot of those factors are manageable through proper hydration, nutrition, stretching and keeping a healthy active lifestyle. Maintaining good muscle condition through exercise can help prevent cramping through building strength and regular massages can help calm irritated muscles and aid in cramp prevention. Incorporating proper warm ups and stretching habits is also very important so your muscles have the best chance of functioning optimally!


No matter the reason, cramps are awful but there are lots of options to manage and prevent them!



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